Going from Year 6 to Year 7 is one of the biggest periods of change and growth in a young person’s life. It can be an exciting time full of new experiences, but it can also be challenging – and kids often feel nervous over the summer and in the first month or two of the new year at ‘big school’. Children transitioning now might be especially nervous after such a disrupted school year.
You can help them feel supported in a number of ways. First and foremost, it’s important you let them know that they can always talk to you about any of their fears or hopes no matter how silly they may seem. Ask them what they’re most looking forward to and most worried about, and encourage them to look for the positives (such as choosing activities to be involved in) as well as reminding them that it’s possible to have very mixed feelings about these thigns. Sometimes, just talking might be all they need.
If they’re worried about making new friends, let them know that it’s normal. You can encourage them to get involved in things like sports or musical programs that will help them to meet and spend time with different people. If you can, having a parent or adult they trust at home when they leave and arrive from school can be comforting.
If they’re worried about not being prepared after spending so much time outside of the classroom, let them know that schools and teachers will be aware and ready for this and will likely be understanding and patient with students. Remind them that all kids their age have gone through the same thing, so it will be very normal for some (or most) to worry about being a bit behind.
This transition can be a big change for parents too, and it’s normal to have lots of feelings about it. You might like to speak to other parents who have gone through the same transition – particularly parents at the same school – as they can reassure you about how you’re feeling and provide tips for how things work at secondary school. This article from Raising Children offers more information and strategies for dealing with this exciting and challenging period.